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Saoirse Una Ronan (/ˈsɜːrʃə ˈuːnə ˈroʊnən/ SUR-shə; born 12 April 1994) is an Irish and American actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, and has been nominated for three Academy Awards and four British Academy Film Awards. Ronan made her acting debut with the Irish medical drama series The Clinic in 2003 and made her film debut with a supporting role in the romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman in 2007. Her breakthrough came with the part of a precocious teenager in Atonement (2007), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Ronan followed this with the starring roles of a murdered girl seeking closure in The Lovely Bones (2009), a teenaged assassin in Hanna (2011), a vampire in Byzantium (2012), and a baker in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Ronan made her stage debut as Abigail Williams in the 2016 Broadway revival of The Crucible.
Ronan at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival
Saoirse Una Ronan
(1994-04-12) 12 April 1994 (age 24)
New York City, U.S.
Saoirse Una Ronan (/
Ronan made her acting debut with the Irish medical drama series The Clinic in 2003 and made her film debut with a supporting role in the romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman in 2007. Her breakthrough came with the part of a precocious teenager in Atonement (2007), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Ronan followed this with the starring roles of a murdered girl seeking closure in The Lovely Bones (2009), a teenaged assassin in Hanna (2011), a vampire in Byzantium (2012), and a baker in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Ronan made her stage debut as Abigail Williams in the 2016 Broadway revival of The Crucible.
Ronan received critical acclaim for playing a homesick Irish girl in 1950s New York in the romantic drama Brooklyn (2015) and the titular role of a high school senior in Greta Gerwig's coming-of-age film Lady Bird (2017). She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for the latter and earned nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for both films.
Ronan was born on 12 April 1994 in The Bronx, New York City, U.S. She is the only child of Irish parents Monica (née Brennan) and Paul Ronan, who are both from Dublin. Her father worked in construction and bar work before training as an actor in New York, and her mother had acted as a child. Ronan and her parents moved back to Dublin when she was three years old. She was raised for a short time in Ardattin, County Carlow where she attended Ardattin National School, but was later home-schooled by a private tutor. In her early teens, Ronan moved back to Dublin with her parents, settling in seaside village Howth.
Ronan made her screen debut on Irish national broadcaster RTÉ, in the 2003 prime time medical drama The Clinic and then appeared in the mini-serial Proof. During the same time, Ronan auditioned to play Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a role she eventually lost to Evanna Lynch. Ronan's first film was Amy Heckerling's romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman, which was filmed in 2005. It was theatrically released in a few international markets in 2007, but given a direct-to-video release in the US in 2008, after it struggled to attract financing and several deals disintegrated during its post-production. In the film, Ronan portrayed the daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer's character and Paul Rudd co-starred as Pfeiffer's love interest. Joe Leydon of Variety labelled the film "desperately unfunny" but considered the interplay between Ronan and Pfeiffer's characters to be among the film's highlights.
At the age of 12, Ronan attended a casting call for Joe Wright's 2007 film adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement. She auditioned for and won the part of Briony Tallis, a 13-year-old aspiring novelist, who affects several lives by accusing her sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. She acted alongside Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Budgeted at US$30 million, the film earned over US$129 million worldwide. Ty Burr of The Boston Globe called her "remarkable [and] eccentric", and Christopher Orr of The Atlantic wrote that she is "a marvel, elegantly capturing the narcissism and self-doubt that adhere to precocity". Ronan was nominated for a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the seventh youngest Oscar nominee in that category.
Ronan next played the daughter of an impoverished psychic (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) in the supernatural thriller Death Defying Acts (2007) and starred as Lina Mayfleet, a heroic teenager who must save the inhabitants of an underground city named Ember in the fantasy film City of Ember (2008). Both films received a mixed critical reception and failed at the box office. In a review for the latter, the critic Stephen Holden took note of how Ronan's talents were wasted in it.
In 2009, Ronan starred alongside Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci in Peter Jackson's supernatural drama The Lovely Bones, an adaptation of the book of the same title by Alice Sebold. Ronan played 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who, after being raped and murdered, watches from the after-life as her family struggles to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her quest for vengeance. Ronan and her family were originally hesitant for Ronan to accept the role due to its subject matter, but agreed after Jackson assured them that the film would not feature gratuitous scenes of rape and murder. Several sequences in the film relied on extensive special effects and much of Ronan's scenes were filmed in front of a blue screen. Reviewers were critical of the film's story and message, but Richard Corliss of Time believed that Ronan had successfully invested the gruesome tale with "immense gravity and grace". He later considered it to be the third best performance of the year. Sukhdev Sandhu of The Daily Telegraph considered Ronan to be the sole positive aspect of the production, writing that she "is simultaneously playful and solemn, youthful yet old beyond her years". The film was a box office disappointment, but earned Ronan a BAFTA Award for Best Actress nomination.
In Peter Weir's war drama The Way Back (2010), Ronan played the supporting part of Irena, a Polish orphan during World War II, who joins escaped Siberian convicts in a 4,000-mile trek to India. It co-starred Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell and Ed Harris, and was filmed on location in Bulgaria, India and Morocco. The following year, Ronan reunited with Joe Wright to play the title character in the action film Hanna, about a 15-year-old girl raised in the Arctic wilderness to be an assassin. The film co-starred Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett as Hanna's father and a villainous CIA agent, respectively. Ronan performed her own stunts and in preparation, she spent several months training in martial arts, stick fighting and knife fighting. Ronan's performance and the film's action sequences were praised by critics. In his review for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers termed the film "a surreal fable of blood and regret" and labelled Ronan an "acting sorceress". Hanna proved to be a moderate commercial success. She also voiced the lead role in the dubbed English version of Studio Ghibli's Japanese anime film Arrietty. At the age of 16, Ronan was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2011, Ronan took part in a promotion for the Irish Film Institute's Archive Preservation Fund, in which she was digitally edited into popular Irish films of the past, as well as documentary footage. Ronan and Alexis Bledel played the titular assassins in Geoffrey S. Fletcher's action film Violet & Daisy (2011). Eric Goldman of IGN compared the film unfavourably to the work of Quentin Tarantino and commented that Ronan's abilities had surpassed the material. Peter Jackson approached Ronan to play an elf in The Hobbit film series, but she withdrew from the project due to scheduling conflicts. She was instead drawn to Neil Jordan's horror film Byzantium (2012), as the "dark, gothic and twisted" project provided her an opportunity to play a more complex and mature character. The film starred Gemma Arterton and her as mother-and-daughter vampires. Writing for Radio Times, the critic Alan Jones found the film to be an "evocative fairy tale that uses vampires as a prism to comment on humanity" and considered both Arterton and Ronan to be "radiant" in it.
In a 2013 film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel The Host, Ronan played the dual role of Melanie Stryder, a human rebel, and Wanderer, a parasitic alien. Critics disliked the film; Manohla Dargis termed it "a brazen combination of unoriginal science-fiction themes [and] young-adult pandering", but took note of an "otherworldly aspect to [Ronan's] screen presence, partly due to her stillness and her own translucent eyes, which can suggest grave intensity or utter detachment". In Kevin Macdonald's drama How I Live Now, an adaptation of the novel of the same title by Meg Rosoff, Ronan played an American teenager sent to a remote farm in the United Kingdom during the outbreak of a fictional third world war. Olly Richards of Empire found Ronan to be in "typically watchable form" in it, but the film earned little at the box office. In her final film release of the year, Ronan voiced a barmaid named Talia in the critically panned animated film Justin and the Knights of Valour.
Ronan had two film releases in 2014 with widely diverse critical receptions—the acclaimed comedy film The Grand Budapest Hotel from the director Wes Anderson and Ryan Gosling's panned directorial debut Lost River. In the former, an ensemble film headed by Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori, Ronan played the supporting part of the love interest to Revolori's character. It was the first project that she filmed without her parents' accompanying her on set. The film earned over $174 million on a $25 million budget and was ranked by the BBC as one of the greatest films of the century. In the surrealistic fantasy film Lost River, Ronan played a mysterious young girl named Rat who owns a pet rat; Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent termed the film a "wildly self-indulgent affair" but praised Ronan's "tough but vulnerable" portrayal.
After starring in Stockholm, Pennsylvania (2015), a psychological thriller about Stockholm syndrome, Ronan played the lead role of Eilis Lacey, a homesick Irish girl in 1950s New York, in the drama Brooklyn. Directed by John Crowley, the film is based on the novel of the same title by Colm Tóibín. Ronan believed that certain aspects of her character's development mirrored her own, saying that she "related [to every] single saying, every aspect of what her journey is". The film and Ronan's performance were acclaimed; Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian considered it to be a "heartfelt and absorbing film" and wrote that Ronan's "calm poise anchors almost every scene and every shot". Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times took note of the "overwhelming empathy she creates with the subtlest means, the remarkable way she's able to create achingly personal, intensely emotional sequences while seeming not to be doing very much at all." Ronan received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama.
In 2016, Ronan moved to New York City to begin rehearsals for her debut appearance on Broadway, in a revival of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible. She took the role of Abigail Williams, a manipulative maid responsible for the death of 150 people accused of witchcraft. Based on the Salem witch trials, the play was directed by Ivo van Hove and ran for 125 performances. In preparation, she read Stacy Schiff's book The Witches: Salem, 1692, and collaborated closely with van Hove to empathise with her villainous character. Instead of relying on previous portrayals of Williams, Ronan played her as "more victim than victimizer". Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney found Ronan to be "icy and commanding" in it and Linda Winer of Newsday commented that she had played the part "with the duplicity of a malevolent surfer-girl".
Ronan next voiced Marguerite Gachet in the biographical animated drama Loving Vincent (2017), and starred alongside Billy Howle as troubled newlyweds on their honeymoon in a film adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel On Chesil Beach. In a mixed review of the latter film, Kate Erbland of IndieWire thought that Ronan was underutilised in it and that her performance had been overshadowed by Howle's work. She then starred in Greta Gerwig's coming-of-age film Lady Bird, in which she played the titular role of Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson, a high school senior who shares a tumultuous relationship with her mother (played by Laurie Metcalf). It ranks among the best-reviewed films of all time on the review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Labelling Ronan's performance as one of the best of the year, A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote, "Ronan navigates each swerve in Lady Bird's story with an uncanny combination of self-confidence and discovery. She is as spontaneous and unpredictable as an actual 17-year-old ... which suggests an altogether stupefying level of craft." She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical; and received Academy Award, BAFTA and SAG nominations for Best Actress. Also in 2017, Ronan hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, in which one of her sketches was criticised in the media for stereotypical portrayal of Irish people, and featured in the music video for Ed Sheeran's song "Galway Girl".
In 2018, Ronan starred in an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull, in which she played Nina, an aspiring actress. In a mixed review of the film, Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post praised Ronan's performance, writing that she "makes for an incandescent Nina, especially in her loopy final-act speech". In the same year, she starred as Mary Stuart in the period drama Mary Queen of Scots, co-starring Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I of England. To maintain the distance between their characters, Robbie and Ronan did not interact with one another before filming their climactic encounter. The critic Todd McCarthy praised the performances of both actresses and credited Ronan for " carr[ying] the film with fiercely individualistic spirit". Labelling Ronan as "one of the industry's most consistently impressive young actors", Benjamin Lee of The Guardian considered her portrayal of Mary to be "an astonishingly confident and committed turn".
Ronan will next reunite with Greta Gerwig in Little Women, an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel of the same title, that features an ensemble cast including Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep, in which she plays Jo March. She will also reunite with Wes Anderson in the ensemble drama film The French Dispatch, and she has committed to star alongside Kate Winslet in Ammonite, a drama about the romance between two British women in the 1840s.
She is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. In 2016, Ronan was featured by Forbes in two of their 30 Under 30 lists and in Time's Next Generation Leaders list. In 2018, she was featured in Maxim's "Hot 100" list and was named among the best American actors under 30 by IndieWire. Also that year, Calvin Klein appointed her and Lupita Nyong'o as the face of Raf Simons' first fragrance for the company, named Women. She was ranked one of the best dressed women in 2018 by fashion website Net-a-Porter.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|I Could Never Be Your Woman||2007||Izzie Mensforth||Amy Heckerling|
|The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey||2007||Celia Hardwick||Bill Clark|
|Atonement||2007||Briony Tallis (aged 13)||Joe Wright|
|Death Defying Acts||2007||Benji McGarvie||Gillian Armstrong|
|City of Ember||2008||Lina Mayfleet||Gil Kenan|
|The Lovely Bones||2009||Susie Salmon||Peter Jackson|
|Arrietty||2010||Arrietty||Hiromasa Yonebayashi||Voice; English dub|
|The Way Back||2010||Irena Zielińska||Peter Weir|
|Hanna||2011||Hanna Heller||Joe Wright|
|Violet & Daisy||2011||Daisy||Geoffrey S. Fletcher|
|Byzantium||2012||Eleanor Webb||Neil Jordan|
|The Host||2013||Melanie Stryder / Wanderer "Wanda"||Andrew Niccol|
|How I Live Now||2013||Daisy||Kevin Macdonald|
|Justin and the Knights of Valour||2013||Talia||Manuel Sicilia||Voice|
|The Grand Budapest Hotel||2014||Agatha||Wes Anderson|
|Muppets Most Wanted||2014||Ballet Dancer||James Bobin||Cameo|
|Lost River||2014||Rat||Ryan Gosling|
|Stockholm, Pennsylvania||2015||Leia Dargon||Nikole Beckwith|
|Weepah Way for Now||2015||Emily / Narrator||Stephen Ringer||Voice|
|Brooklyn||2015||Éilis Lacey||John Crowley|
|Loving Vincent||2017||Marguerite Gachet||Dorota Kobiela
|Lady Bird||2017||Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson||Greta Gerwig|
|On Chesil Beach||2017||Florence Ponting||Dominic Cooke|
|The Seagull||2018||Nina Zarechnaya||Michael Mayer|
|Mary Queen of Scots||2018||Mary, Queen of Scots||Josie Rourke|
||2019||Josephine "Jo" March||Greta Gerwig||Post-production|
|The French Dispatch
|The Clinic||2003–2004||Rhiannon Geraghty||4 episodes|
|Proof||2005||Orla Boland||4 episodes|
|Robot Chicken||2014||Various||Voice; 2 episodes|
|Saturday Night Live||2017||Herself (host)||Episode: "Saoirse Ronan/U2"|
|"Garden's Heart"||2013||Bat for Lashes||How I Live Now|
|"Galway Girl"||2017||Ed Sheeran||÷|
|The Crucible||2016||Abigail Williams||Walter Kerr Theatre|
|Authority control |